Preconception stress, birth weight, and birth weight disparities among US women

Am J Public Health. 2014 Aug;104(8):e125-32. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2014.301904. Epub 2014 Jun 12.


Objectives: We examined the impact of preconception acute and chronic stressors on offspring birth weight and racial/ethnic birth weight disparities.

Methods: We included birth weights for singleton live first (n = 3512) and second (n = 1901) births to White, Mexican-origin Latina, other-origin Latina, and Black women reported at wave IV of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (2007-2008; ages 24-32 years). We generated factor scores for preconception acute and chronic stressors from wave I (1994-1995; ages 11-19 years) or wave III (2001-2002; ages 18-26 years) for the same cohort of women.

Results: Linear regression models indicated that chronic stressors, but not acute stressors, were inversely associated with birth weight for both first and second births (b = -192; 95% confidence interval = -270, -113; and b = -180; 95% confidence interval = -315, -45, respectively), and partially explained the disparities in birth weight between the minority racial/ethnic groups and Whites.

Conclusions: Preconception chronic stressors contribute to restricted birth weight and to racial/ethnic birth weight disparities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Birth Weight*
  • Black People / statistics & numerical data
  • Child
  • Female
  • Health Status Disparities*
  • Hispanic or Latino / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Linear Models
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Mexican Americans / statistics & numerical data
  • Pregnancy
  • Stress, Psychological / complications*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • White People / statistics & numerical data
  • Young Adult